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What is a Recruiter?

Reviewed By Product Expert and Coach
Elizabeth Hogue
February 10, 2023
It's a recruiter’s goal to balance helping candidates find jobs they love while simultaneously helping employers find quality employees.

A recruiter is responsible for overseeing most, if not all, of the hiring process. This includes meeting with company members to determine their hiring needs all the way down to meeting and encouraging potential job-seekers to flesh out their career goals. 

Recruiters work with hiring managers to source, screen and manage potential employees throughout an interview process. There are many different types of recruiters, and lots of their role is heavily dependent on the company. Recruiting  is trickier than it sounds –some companies require extremely specialized skills, and there are not many qualified people fit for the task. 

Examples of Recruiter Types

Most recruiters either work for a larger company or a recruiting agency. The roles and responsibilities overlap, but are fairly different for the two.

For example, a recruiter at a large company may specialize in only recruiting engineers. While this recruiter does not need to know code, they need to know enough to weed through candidates in their initial screens to make sure they fit the profile of the hiring manager's request.

Another recruiter at that same company may only specialize in executives, or marketers, or product managers (and so on). These recruiters spend their time getting familiar with the requirements from the hiring managers in these departments, so they can ask pointed questions and create great candidate profiles. A recruiter at a large company could be working on as many as 5 roles at a time, all in the same area! 

On the contrast, another popular place for recruiters to land is at a recruiting agency. Agencies mostly service companies on the smaller side, or extremely niche roles that are hard to fill. Learn the primary differences between agency and in-house before targeting a recruiting role type.

What does a Recruiter do?

Recruiters have lots of daily tasks, but all of them revolve around management of job seekers and potential employers. 

A recruiter will start the staffing process by meeting with hiring managers at their employer to learn about the staffing needs and job requirements. Recruiters will advise on reasonable job requests, and then work with the hiring managers of specific roles to finalize the individualized postings. 

After a specific job description has been finalized, a recruiter will list the job posting on several markets, including Linkedin, Indeed, and branded sites hosted on something like Breezy HR.  The recruiter will use tools to screen applications and resumes, and pick out candidates that may be good fits. They may also float their jobs to potential candidates via Linkedin Recruiting and cold emailing to increase the potential candidate pool. 

When several candidates have applied to their job posting, recruiters will take care of the initial “screening” process to make sure candidates are legit. The screening questionnaire is usually put together by both the hiring manager and recruiter, and the recruiters take detailed notes to share back with the teams. If it’s a good fit, the recruiter will manage communications to move the candidate along in the interview process. The recruiter will usually keep track of and manage candidates in the company's ATS (applicant tracking system), to manage where candidates are in the interview process and pipeline.

Recruiters are often in charge of scheduling interviews that work for both parties, and often act as a middle man when it comes to negotiating for both sides. 

If a recruiter is in-house and not at a staffing agency, some of their day to day may also include processing onboarding paperwork for new employees and creating tools for internal teams to create better hiring processes. 

Do I need a degree to be a Recruiter?

Some job descriptions will mention a requirement of a degree, but often will waive this if you have great people or customer experience.

Some people we've seen do great in recruiting roles:

  • Teachers
  • Restaurant managers and servers
  • Retail and customer service professionals
  • Anyone with strong interpersonal abilities and soft skills
If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. While this job works great with degrees, you have other options. Learn more here.

Our Favorite Recruiting Programs & Certifications

Career Path of a Recruiter

While the career path below is very common in the tech industry, recruiters is also a very popular field among the self-employed. It's normal to specialize in a particular field, whether that be engineering, design or product. This heavily depends on the size of the company.

2-3 Years
*Or Associate
Senior Recruiter
3-5 Years
Recruiting Manager
5-10 Years
Director of Recruiting
4-6 Years

What is a Recruiter's salary?

This was a trickier one to compile, because the title "Recruiter" can refer to many different experience types. We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and entry-level recruiters can make anywhere between 65k - 85k, depending on their location and skillsets.

Top Skills of a Recruiter

We've compiled thousands of job descriptions for recruiters to record the most common requirements to save you time. While preparing for interviews, keep in mind specific times you've demonstrated these skills.

  • Direct and manage recruiting efforts including sourcing, candidate evaluations, interview setup, offer negotiations, close-out process and onboarding
  • Source and build a network of candidates specific to your market
  • Telephone and video interviewing prospective candidates to assess suitability for roles
  • Prepare coversheets and CV/Resumes on specific candidates
  • Use various databases and public information sources such as Linkedin and Indeed to identify prospective Recruit Candidates and load them into recruiting software systems (known as an ATS-- Applicant Tracking System).
  • Manage candidate expectations throughout an interview process and provide honest and prompt feedback
  • Lead recruiting planning sessions with hiring managers to establish expectations, timelines, and desired candidate profiles
  • Develop sourcing strategy and establish desired communications with the hiring managers and HR
  • Maintain and monitor regular automated SEO reports in support of overall and brand-specific editorial goals
  • Manage both salaried requisitions as well as hourly requisitions in multiple locations
  • Participate in hiring events and career fairs, with an emphasis on enhancing Diversity & Inclusion initiatives (Women, Minorities, Military and Disability)
  • Passively Recruit – source, evaluate and qualify top talent utilizing Applicant Tracking System/CRM, Internet Databases, Job Boards, and Social Media Platforms.
  • Consistently meet the recruitment metrics as defined by the acquisition team
  • Provide reporting and regular status updates to the the acquisition team

Top Tools of a Recruiter

We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming a recruiter, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.

For Tracking Applicants

  • BreezyHR
  • JazzHR
  • Greenhouse
  • Workday

  • Greenhouse
  • Fetcher
  • Zoho
  • Capterra

Other Helpful Tools

  • Linkedin
  • Indeed
  • ZipRecruiter

For Task Management

  • Clickup
  • Notion

Key Traits & Competencies of a Successful Recruiter


Recruiters need to be organized to manage multiple candidate processes, screen scheduling, and hiring manager meetings.


A recruiter needs to be able to establish trust with candidates quickly to move them through processes and handle all communications. 


It’s important for a recruiter  to connect with their candidates and hiring managers to be able to see what personalities and working styles  would match best. 


Sometimes a recruiter has to deliver bad news to a candidate or hiring manager, which can really suck.

Delivery is everything. 


It’s a tough market out there for recruiters!

It's a tricky time to go into recruiting because of the 2023 tech layoffs.


Recruiters spend a decent time identifying candidates. This is primarily achieved from researching on Linkedin to identify candidates with the skills needed.

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What's an Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, is one of the backbones of a recruitment role. This is where a lot of the behind-the-scenes work of a recruiter is tracked. If you've ever applied to a role online, you've likely been in contact with a company's ATS.

The ATS is where recruiters and companies store candidate data--- such as resumes, cover letters, references and portfolios. When an candidate applies to a role, their materials are routed through the ATS to store their data and weed out unfit candidates to save the recruiter time and energy. This also allows the uploaded materials to stay in a system in case a more relevant role comes along-- and allows the candidates to be visible to anyone on the hiring teams or HR that's interested for future roles.

The ATS uses some AI to screen candidates if they apply directly to the role to weed out those without the right experiences. Fun fact: if you're applying to roles yourself and not getting many interviews, it's possible that the company's ATS is blocking your resume due to lack of relevant keywords or funky formatting. Be alert!

Difference between a Recruiter and a Sourcer

The lines here are a little blurry, and that's mainly because sometimes both of these roles are done by a recruiter.

A sourcer is often an entry-level role responsible for gathering potential candidates for the recruiter. Sourcers spend hours scouring Linkedin to provide recruiters and hiring managers lists of strong candidates that may be good fits for the various open roles. Ultimately, the recruiters are responsible for making contact with the candidate and owning the hiring process from there. Sometimes at medium (and even some larger) companies, the recruiting and sourcing jobs are combined.

To recap: sourcers compile candidates that may be good fits for role descriptions, then hand off their lists to recruiters to make contact and work the hiring process. Many recruiters can source, but not all sourcers can recruit!


It might be a little tough in todays market to break into recruiting with the mass recruiting and sales layoffs happening in tech.

BUT, if you feel it's the role for you, now is the best time to learn the skills for when companies start hiring again.

Here at Bridged we are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve desired career results. We're building a product to make your career planning fun and affordable, and we'd love to talk to YOU! Was this article helpful? Did you land an interview for a recruiting role?

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How to Get a Job as a Recruiter

We love a stepped process for quick and specific results. The 3 tiered process is best.

We recommend starting out by documenting things about you, how you like to work, and how these things might tie into your next job. For example, a person with motion sickness should not become a trucker. Same deal here.

Learn more
  • decorative heading

    do your research.
    Check out our list of relevant core competencies and skills. Research other jobs in the field to see if any of those appeal to you more.

  • decorative heading

    identify skills.
    If those sound good, look at our job descriptions. Identify and check off what skills you already have, and start thinking about ways to target the ones you don't.

  • decorative heading

    take classes.
    we recommend classes and certifications to get familiar with specific, relevant job requirements. Learn from your home with no more fluff or expensive bootcamps.

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